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Chinese ThoughtConclusion

We have dealt with the mainstream schools of Chinese philosophy in the classical period and their contributions to human consciousness in a threefold structure. In the development of these schools a fundamental consciousness of reality emerges as the leading force of influence, namely the consciousness of the ultimate reality that is the incessant source and foundation for the building of a system of morality and a system of politics in later times. But this consciousness of the ultimate that is rooted in a human person can also be described as an original consciousness of reality as a body of truths or a system of truths (benti) as experienced by self-conscious individuals. This idea of benti has its own inner logic of development as described on the three levels of human consciousness in Chinese philosophy. In later history we see projects of realizing emptiness and achieving enlightenment in Chinese Buddhism. We also witness efforts to incorporate Buddhist insight into a Confucian framework as well as efforts to integrate various strains of thought in new syntheses and formulations of the world and the self. These efforts have continued into the twenty-first century while facing a still larger challenge: the integration of the Chinese and the Western.


Chan, Wing-tsit, trans. and ed. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Cheng, Chung-ying, and Nick Bunnin, eds. Contemporary Chinese Philosophy. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2002.

Cua, Antonio S., ed. Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy. New York and London: Routledge, 2003.

Feng, Youlan. A History of Chinese Philosophy by Fung Yu-lan. 2 vols. Translated by Derk Bodde. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Hsiao, Kung-chuan. History of Chinese Political Thought. Translated by F. W. Mote. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1979.

Chung-ying Cheng

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Condensation to CoshConsciousness - Chinese Thought - Cosmological Consciousness, Consciousness Of Human Self, Political Consciousness, Conclusion, Bibliography